Home > Natural Dual-Mage (Magical Mayhem #3)(5)

Natural Dual-Mage (Magical Mayhem #3)(5)
Author: K.F. Breene

“That’s my question. What happened? Are you okay? Do we need to go to the hospital? I swear, Darius will absolutely kill me if I kill you, and I don’t even want to get started on Emery. I’m confident I could take him, but it would be a wild ride.”

“Since when do you babble?” I tried to slap her hand away.

“You’re as weak as a kitten. Crap. I broke you. But how did I break you? What happened?”

I tried to gauge her with my gaze. She slowly pushed up to standing, stepped over me, and squatted again, hovering.

“Cut the apron strings, Mable, I’m fine,” I said, rolling to my side and continuing to suck in lungfuls of air.

“I don’t even know who you are right now. I mean, I like the change, because that’s funny, but I’m worried you have brain damage. Do you have brain damage? Seriously, what is going on? You clearly solved the riddle of how to keep that nasty little creature from changing. I got my sword through it, finally, but then I turned around and you were lying flat on your back, not breathing. Did it somehow have the power to make you stop breathing? I didn’t notice my air drying up, and usually I do.”

I waved my hand in front of my face to stop the bombardment of words. “I don’t like when you fret. It’s unnatural. Fretting is my job.”

“Yeah, I know. How do you think I feel? I didn’t know I had it in me to fret. I hate it.”

I huffed out a laugh before sitting up painfully and rubbing the back of my head. I’d clearly fallen on it first, somehow. Thinking back, I relayed everything I’d felt, including her magic surging in and balancing everything out.

“I’m pretty sure you saved my life,” I finished, slowly getting to my feet.

She grabbed my arm and helped me up. “I felt magic warring within you somehow. I panicked. Don’t tell anyone.”

“I’m in no position to judge—I panic all the time.”

“It’s funny when you do it.”

“Great,” I mumbled, my mood souring.

The Redcap goblin lay in a pile about thirty feet away, a sword through its middle and a pool of red around its body. A charred speck sat off to the side, still smoking.

“What happened there?” I pointed.

“That was its hat.”

“Ah.” I twisted to each side, trying to stretch my back. It felt like I’d run back-to-back marathons. “It had some extremely powerful magic.” I put up my hands. I could still feel the power surging through my blood. “And it isn’t dissipating. Usually when I latch on to someone else’s magic, it’s only while they’re near me. And alive, obviously. This magic should be long gone.” I widened my eyes. “Did you make sure it was dead?”

“Of course I did! I hacked the hell out of it. Vicious, yes, but warranted. It was a nasty little— Anyway, maybe it wasn’t lying.” Reagan’s brow furrowed. “Maybe gods are legit and it…somehow…got a gift of power…from one of them?” She scoffed and shook her head. “That just sounds absurd. It’s a goblin. Why would a god give a nasty little creature like that a gift of any kind? It was more deserving of a kick. Right to the head.”

“Maybe the goblin killed whoever had the power first, and it somehow managed to ingest the magic.” I ran my hand down my chest, feeling a strange tingling and lightness, like nervousness and butterflies and excitement, all mixed up. It didn’t feel like it belonged. “I can’t think how else this would be possible. Then again, I know next to nothing about the magical community, so…”

“This is a question for Darius. Regardless, you’re alive, not still dying…” She lifted an eyebrow at me. I shook my head. The danger had passed; I could feel it. Whatever was going on with the magic wouldn’t kill me. Not yet, anyway. “And next time, when a creature says something about power from the gods, we’ll know how to handle it.”

“No.” I shook my head and about-faced. “No way. This was the last time. No more. I am done with these bounty hunter gigs. Absolutely done.” I waggled my finger behind me. “You can call the cleanup people or whatever. I’m out.”

“You don’t have a car,” she yelled after me.

I didn’t even care. I’d walk in the cold. Anything to get away from her inevitable effort to talk me into another hunt. I really was done. Totally finished.


Emery sat in a chair at the edge of a green field dotted with occasional white specks, the last of the snow from yesterday finally melting away. The temperature was still down near freezing, but the cold couldn’t permeate the blackness of his mood.

He sighed deeply and a cloud of white left his lips. He’d jumped at the chance to go back to Ireland with Penny. He’d follow her to the ends of the Earth if she asked. His feelings for her had only gotten stronger. And would only get stronger as they continued to weave into each other’s lives.

But he’d been assailed by bad memories of the time he’d spent here alone. Of his life after his brother, having to kill liberally to stay alive. Emery couldn’t help but wonder how different things would have been if his brother had lived and he had died. Would Conrad have been able to turn things around? Emery only knew how to maim and kill, not save. He was a rogue, a recluse, and he’d never be as easily liked as his brother had been.

He shook his head and reached for the glass of whiskey resting in the grass next to the sinking leg of his chair. Not for the first time, a thread of guilt wormed through him. Penny deserved better than a guy like him. And he felt guilty for praying to God she never realized it, because he didn’t know what he’d do if she left. She’d put the color back into his life. The depth. She was his anchor.

And if she were here right now, she’d tell him to stop dwelling.

He grinned and looked at his feet. She’d be right, too. Life felt better when you enjoyed the positive instead of lingering on the negative.

Soft footfalls reached his ears, somewhat quicker than a human would naturally walk. A moment later, he could pick out the rhythm of the gait and the careful steps. He was well versed on all things dangerous, and the approaching individual was one of the more dangerous things in the world.

Darius. A cunning elder vampire who was way too deeply involved in Emery’s affairs.

Judging from the overcast sky and short days, he guessed it to be about four or four thirty in the afternoon. Evening had replaced the day.

Penny and Reagan would be finishing up with paperwork about now, Penny sour about whatever had happened, and Reagan likely filled with pride that her training buddy had come up with unique and airtight spells. The two of them were as effective as they were hilariously predictable. He got endless enjoyment out of listening to their squabbles.

“Black thoughts?” Darius asked quietly, setting down the chair he’d grabbed from their rental house across the road. Emery sat on one just like it.

“Just reflecting on my life choices.” Emery took a sip of his whiskey and leaned back.

“Dwelling, as Penny would call it?”

Emery huffed out a laugh. The vampire couldn’t actually pick thoughts from his head, but he was so good at reading body language, mood, and situational cues that it practically came to the same thing. “It’s easy to blame myself for what the Guild has become. For years they were merely festering, but I resurfaced, raised havoc, and suddenly they’re spreading like a virus. In just a few months they’ve claimed a couple dozen new cities around the world and a host of new talent. The mages who vocally oppose their methods are being slaughtered. If I’d left the whole thing alone, the darker magic wouldn’t be spreading, and innocent mages wouldn’t be in jeopardy. Penny would be so much safer. It’s a lot to feel accountable for.”

“Pardon me for a moment.” Darius stood up and zipped off so fast that Emery had woven together a spell before realizing he’d been startled. Usually when an elder vampire moved that fast, he was two seconds from ripping out a throat. A moment later, though, Darius was sitting down again with a snifter filled with a deep brown liquid.

Apparently they were about to have a man-to-man chat. No doubt Darius would use it as an opportunity to glean information. You could never trust a vampire, and elder vampires were the worst kind.

Most Popular
» Nothing But Trouble (Malibu University #1)
» Kill Switch (Devil's Night #3)
» Hold Me Today (Put A Ring On It #1)
» Spinning Silver
» Birthday Girl
» A Nordic King (Royal Romance #3)
» The Wild Heir (Royal Romance #2)
» The Swedish Prince (Royal Romance #1)
» Nothing Personal (Karina Halle)
» My Life in Shambles
» The Warrior Queen (The Hundredth Queen #4)
» The Rogue Queen (The Hundredth Queen #3)
vampires.readsbookonline.com Copyright 2016 - 2024